Fight And Fighting Body Language As It Relates To Killer Dogs!
I have a tenant with a massive scary barking dog but I’ve learned how to defeat him with body language! It’s much more common for children to get attacked by dogs than for adults primarily because they don’t understand how to avoid eye contact. In other words, they haven’t learned to avert their eyes from an enemy, nor are they big enough to intimidate them. To a dog, a child appears as both a threat because they make eye contact and as easy prey due to their size. Eye contact can trigger an attack response in animals so when being confronted, you’re much better off to look down and away, instead of staring a beady-eyed dog or even a bear dead smack in their eyes. Head down and away, shoulders brought in to appear smaller, with arms pulled in, are all ways to avoid setting off an attack response. These submissive postures apply for more than just animal attacks, they also apply to bosses who wish to reprimand, family who wish to start disputes, or thugs in bars looking for fisticuffs.
When I approach the doorway and the tenants aren’t home, the dog will bark and growl fearlessly which is the total opposite to what happens when the owners are home where he’s pleasant and even affectionate. When the owners are home he will even follow me around and seek to be pet. However, when they aren’t home and I need to tend to something, he barks persistently, growls and snarls preventing me from entering. The more I intrude into the house, the more aggressive his posture becomes. In the past, I’ve tried talking calmly to him, opening the door slowly and giving him treats, but nothing works.
One day though I decided to run a little nonverbal experiment when I needed to get in to do an inspection. On all previous occasions I would tried to keep the dog in the house to prevent him from running away, but this time I decided to turn the tables and use the laws of territoriality to my advantage. Instead of entering his territory, I instead invited him into mine. That is, I asked him to first come outside, just by one step before entering his space. I knew there was little risk of him taking off since I was just about to enter his space, if he permitted, so he would want to usher me in so as to protect his domain. When I opened the storm door, he as usual, started barking and snarling, but then I opened the door even more and instead of encroaching on him, I pulled backward and gave him some space. The dog took a few steps forward onto the patio then nudged up against my leg as he turned around and re-entered the house with me. Because I respected the dog’s personal territory and followed the rules of territoriality, he not only permitted me to enter, but even welcomed me. Once inside, his guard was let down and his aggressive actions subsided.
Can this type of body language work on aggression when found in people as well? Try it for yourself. Defeat aggressive neighbours by inviting them over for a drink and snacks and see how quickly their attitudes will change. Using the right body language can also be useful to avoid fist fights at the pub and speeding tickets! Read more in Body Language Project: The Only Book On Body Language That Everybody Needs To Read.
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